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Rihanna: 'If I Ever Go To West Africa, It Would Probably Be For A Free Concert'

In a rare interview with MIranda July for The New York Times' T Magazine, Rihanna reveals that she'd like to play a show in West Africa.


Rihanna via Facebook.

Rihanna recently sat down with author and filmmaker Miranda July for one of her first interviews in years, which was published earlier this week in The New York Times' T Magazine. In A Very Revealing Conversation With Rihanna, the pop star opens up about what she searches on the internet ("Oh, random things. Like I will be sitting around Googling childbirth"), her reservations about being "sent" alone to New York to record a demo as a teenager, and what she looks for in a man ("guys who are cultured... speak other languages or know things about other parts of the world or history").

Most interestingly, the article mentions that Miranda July asked a question suggested by her Nigerien cab driver en route to the interview: when is Rihanna going to West Africa? 

The Barbadian star responded, "You know what? If I ever go to West Africa, it would probably be for a free concert. I would want to do something for the people there. Maybe we can make a whole event, the way Bob Marley would have done it. Just for the people. And if they climb over the gate, let them climb over the gate." We'll be keeping tabs on that one.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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